In 1958 WHAM-O introduced the world to a new toy after Arthur Melin and Richard Knerr observed children in Australia playing with bamboo hoops in their exercise class. Upon their return to the States, they took what they had seen and invented the plastic hoop, what we now know as the Hula Hoop. What started out as a fad in the late 1950's for kids has now turned into a fitness frenzy 53 years later. And if you don't believe swirling your hips can burn calories and tone your body, think again.
Researchers at the Exercise and Health Program at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse led by Jordan Holthusen, M.S. and John Porcari, Ph.D. conducted a study of 16 advanced to intermediate female hoopers. To their amazement, hula hooping expended similar calorie rates and raised heart rates similar to cardio kickboxing, step aerobics and boot camp classes. Although the researchers state that more studies need to be done to determine what the long-term fitness benefits to hooping will bring, one thing is for certain, when we have fun doing an activity we are more likely to participate in it. I always say something always trumps nothing, especially when it comes to exercise.
Today, some fitness experts have taken hula hooping one step further by combining hooping and Pilates. Kristin Benton, founder of the hula-hoop based FXP Fitness, recognized the amazing benefits of incorporating this kid-approved piece of equipment into exercise after losing 40 pounds with a regular hooping routine.
Below are a few tips on choosing the right hoop for you.
6 Ways to Hoop Your Way to Healthy
Abs, Thighs, Arms and Shoulders: Sumo Squats
Abdominals: Teaser Prep
Arms and Abs: Zip It Up
Legs, Abs and Cardio: Waist Hooping
Abdominals: Wring It Out
Abs, Thighs and Glutes: Wide Second Plie
To watch the complete workout, visit Benton's SparkPeople YouTube playlist directly.
Have you ever worked out with a hula hoop? Share your experience below!
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